Posted in Stories

Progressively Unnecessary

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers

How very true in the case of Doc Mass Communication, let’s call him DMC.

Back in 1981 – WordPress seems to lead me back in time often these days – I left the town where I grew up to head towards the ‘big’ city of Breda to study Sociological Recreational at the NHTV university.

Everything was new: living on my own, cooking, meeting other students, new relationship, but also the university. From the protected environment of high school to the open, unstructured way of teaching at the NHTV.

Our schedule offered lots of interesting courses, like programming, Dutch, English, French, psychology, recreation, sociology and mass communication. Used to the sing song dialect we spoke back home, all these new accents could be challenging. As I was to others.

Alright, let’s find out everything there is to know about mass communication. Entering the class room came DMC. Doc was tall, slender and talked fast. Very fast and non-stop. In fact he talked so fast with an accent I still wasn’t used to, that I had absolutely NO idea what he was talking about. For an hour I sat there, rolling my eyes and wondering what the message of his lesson was. It was something about a red thread.

But there was always the book, so I dived in to learn more about communication. The next lesson I was totally prepared for DMC. Bring it on! And he did. Another hour went by and sentences without meaning flowed through the room. I understood what he was saying, but he simply was not making sense. One minute he was on subject, the next he jumped to a complete new line of thinking, only to hop back to the first. And again something about a red thread.

Third class there was… snow. Lots of snow. Mountains of snow. And a forest nearby. My friend Suzan and me arrived at school to absorb more masses of communication. We walked towards the class room and sat down. Looked outside. Looked at each other. And got the hell out of there! That was the first of many many long walks and talks and Suzan and I became best friends.

I haven’t been back to DMC’s lessons, not once. In stead I studied the book and flunked the exam. Second try was a hit: I passed. He probably knew very much about this wonderful subject mass communication, but he was the worst teacher I’ve ever had. Or perhaps the best, since his abracadabra taught me self study, plus gave us a wonderful friendship!

Posted in Stories

Borg-Free Internet

Internet. The deep space on earth. A gateway to information, to friends known and friends yet unknown. Patiently waiting to be discovered. A communication network with countless branches, offering chances in new directions.

Not all is safe out there. There are the Borg and Romulans cruising the internet, setting traps for the unaware, for the vulnerable, for the young and old. They abuse this wonderful medium and want to assimilate our souls. Be very careful not to let them!

Could I live without the internet? Oh yes, of course. I would still eat, breathe and do my stuff. But do I WANT to live without the internet? That would be a big NO, since I wouldn’t be able to do those other ‘stuffs’ that I love and need so much: interaction and communication. Writing and sharing.

The internet reaches out a hand to people all over the world. To find new truths and challenges. To help teach others there is more to life than our own little community. To learn about people and places. To CONNECT.

How about you, could you live without the internet?

Posted in Stories

Reaching out

Day 5 of the ‘Post A Day 2011′ challenge:

Do you prefer to talk, text message, or a different communication method?

An easy question, one might say. Of course that would be face-to-face, direct interaction, able to see your interlocutor’s expression (yippee, I learned a new word today!) , or at least hear his or her voice by phone… but often we are unable to do this, due to different time zones, high expenses, busy schedules, you name it. In those cases we need to rely on other kinds of communication. And fortunately there are possibilities aplenty these days!

Life is hectic, a miracle of multi-tasking. You find yourself racing from one appointment to the next, working long hours. Then you come home, only to land face-down in your second (voluntary) job as housekeeper and laundry caretaker, moving straight into a third: cab driver for the kids. So many things have to be crammed in so little time, that direct contact simply isn’t possible.

And then my fingers fly over my cell phone screen, or blindly unlock the wonders of the board-keys. I absolutely LOVE sending and receiving text messages and emails, ’cause you can read them when the time is right. Just sending out a signal that you are thinking of the other. At least as long as that’s not the only way of communicating: there has to be a balance in personal and digital contact!

What it all comes down to is reaching out, connecting – whether by phone, text message, email, Facebook or instant messenger. Reaching out to the other in a way that is appropriate for you and your friend in that exact time, place and depending on the variety of possibilities. As long as it makes you both happy, it has served its purpose.